Gary Paulsen does a great job telling the story of his attempt to run the Iditarod. Ice cold and humorous at the same time. Don't miss this book! While learning about the Arctic and the Iditarod you The author has written an autobiographical look at sled dogs, sledding, and the wilderness he personally discovers while training for the Iditarod.
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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Woodsong by Gary Paulsen. Woodsong by Gary Paulsen. He has flown off the back of a dogsled and down a frozen waterfall to near disaster, and waited for a giant bear to seal his fate with one slap of a claw. He has led a team of sled dogs toward the Alaskan Mountain Range in an Iditarod -- the grueling, 1,mile dogsled race -- hallucinating from lack of sleep, but he determined to finish.
Here, in vivid detail, Paulsen recounts several of the remarkable experiences that shaped his life and inspired his award-winning writing. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Edwards Award Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Woodsong , please sign up. What's the problem in this book it looks interesting but I just want to see what's it usually gonna be about.
Kristin I think it was he got stuck in the artic wilderness, I read this in and Prettysure my whole class didn't like it. See all 8 questions about Woodsong…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Woodsong. Mar 29, Autumn rated it really liked it. This is very good, but in some ways, a challenging read for what appears to be a children's book. The first half of the book is a series of short essays Paulsen wrote about training his sled dogs.
He writes about odd things that happened to him while on runs and in the woods, the brutality of nature and what his dogs taught him. Some of the essays, actually, most of them, have one thing or another that was difficult to read. He really doesn't shy away from the ugly side of the natural world. Tha This is very good, but in some ways, a challenging read for what appears to be a children's book. That's why this short book took me a while to get through- I loved his descriptions of his dogs, and their funny sides, their wisdom and strength, and he draws so much from his experiences with the dogs, but there were a few scenes that made me face a side of nature I don't usually like to think about- wolves feasting on a deer, the death of a beloved dog, etc.
The book is also funny at times and a couple of choice stories and phrases had me laughing out loud. The second half of the book is in seventeen parts, one part for each day of Paulsen's first stab at the Iditarod. This could have been a book in itself, the chapters are brief and actually I wish he would have drawn this out more and made it its own book. He's a children's author, but I can't decide what to make of this book because although it is appears to be like a children's book or, like his other books, I should say , and a sixth grader could read it, some of the things he write about are so upsetting, and so dark, that I personally think it would be hard for a younger child to read and process.
Maybe I'm just sensitive where animals are concerned. The chapter about his beloved dog who could not turn east when he died was just heartbreaking. I also have a soft spot for Gary Paulsen because when I was in sixth grade, we read Hatchet, and I decided to write to him. At the time I believe he was living in Minnesota. He actually wrote back to me with a hand-signed, personal letter. I will never forget that! Jul 05, Maggie rated it really liked it.
Listened to it on audiobook read by the author and it was great. Absolutely loved it. Paulsen was one of my favorite authors as a child and I am glad to see that my trust in him as an author was well-deserved. The descriptions of the cold were so chilling and unsettling that I had to turn this off a couple of times, but the honest tone about the brutal world of dogsledding made it all worthwhile.
I also deeply appreciated the mantra that Paulsen hammers home in this story -- the "I didn't know h Listened to it on audiobook read by the author and it was great.
I also deeply appreciated the mantra that Paulsen hammers home in this story -- the "I didn't know how little I actually knew about this subject, and I was an idiot. I know more now but I'm still an idiot. I definitely did not want to hear about some white guy trying to get back in touch with the wilderness and pretending he was Iron Will along the way; no no, this was just the right balance of self-deprecation and respect for wilderness.
At the height of his acclaim in the mids and into the '90s, three-time Newbery Honoree Gary Paulsen was compared to some of the finest names in the history of American children's literature.
Not only that, but the comparisons were to a diverse array of accomplished writers, indicating a versatility perhaps unequalled among his contemporaries. There was likeness drawn to the legendary Jack London, whose prolific output and sensitivity to the natural world's underlying wisdom was on a simila At the height of his acclaim in the mids and into the '90s, three-time Newbery Honoree Gary Paulsen was compared to some of the finest names in the history of American children's literature.
There was likeness drawn to the legendary Jack London, whose prolific output and sensitivity to the natural world's underlying wisdom was on a similar level as Gary Paulsen's. Perhaps never has there been an author for teens who outperformed his peers as convincingly as Robert Cormier, but if anyone active after Cormier's death in the year had a small piece of his genius within them, it was Gary Paulsen, as evidenced by books such as The Rifle and Paintings from the Cave: Three Novellas.
Even Paula Fox's name was invoked in discussions of Gary Paulsen's excellence, a Newbery Medal winner whose crossover success between children's lit, young-adult novels, and adult fiction was unsurpassed by all who sought to gain audience with the three distinct demographics.
Gary Paulsen's talent placed him in the company of three of the very best to ever ply the trade, each comparison made with a different aspect in mind of his award-winning genius. Woodsong is as offbeat a novel as any penned by Gary Paulsen, intended for kids and teens yet featuring a protagonist in his late thirties and older. It's the depth of philosophical discovery that makes this book better suited to young readers, a quality of thought that demands an audience not fully formed in their view of the world, open to being shaped by the experiential knowledge Gary Paulsen gained from the ways of nature.
When we come upon Paulsen at the start of Woodsong he's already an apt outdoorsman, capable of taking care of himself, his family, and his many domesticated animals in the distressing cold of where they live in northern Minnesota. After the government issues a bounty on beavers to help control their destructive population, Paulsen establishes a trapline route across a fifty mile radius near his home, and begins raising dogs to pull his sled through the snowy land so he can regularly check his beaver traps.
Purchasing the dogs ushers in a new era for Paulsen, whose moderate success as a published author hasn't earned him great wealth, leaving him dependent on the money from beaver pelts to support his family. The sled dogs will teach Paulsen life truths that haven't made their mark on him yet, existential realities he probably never could have accepted apart from time spent with unfettered wildlife, animals interacting with their environment and mankind organically, apart from the illusion of inherent human superiority that modern technology projects.
Paulsen's dogs will be his spiritual counselors, nourishing his soul as he feeds their bodies and tends to their physical welfare, and this experience is the breakthrough he needed to write stories that captivate the imagination of the public, taking a struggling smalltime writer from the north and vaulting him into a position on par with the all-time greats. The front cover and plot synopsis of Woodsong indicate it's the story of Paulsen's first Iditarod, but it's more about his early dog-sledding years, raising his team from pups and growing in his own understanding of why they run and the role he plays on the team.
The man riding the back of the sled has a crucial job, but he's hardly leader of the pack; that's the head dog's job, studiously evaluating the landscape and electing where to go based equally on instinct and intelligence, not the commands of a human musher with a dubious sense of direction. Paulsen had to be trained when to assert his will and when to back off and let his dogs sort out the situation, and his proficiency as a musher gained more solid footing as his discretion improved.
Moving a team of hulking sled dogs hundreds of miles a night in temperatures dipping as low as minus forty, fifty, or sixty degrees is dangerous, but if his dogs were up to the task than he could do it, too. Their example instilled within Paulsen the indomitable spirit of canine nature, a rare gift impossible to develop apart from kinship with the animals in the intimacy of their pack. Nature isn't a finesse teacher; one learns its lessons quickly or dies, as Brian Robeson finds out in Gary Paulsen's Brian's Saga series.
Paulsen is the sink-or-swim student in Woodsong , observing the strange, fearsome beauty of nature and adapting to his own minor role in its vast circle of life. An early run with his dogs leaves an indelible impression on Paulsen for its confrontation with uncensored wildlife death, the inglorious climax of a wolf hunt as the predators track a terrified doe onto an icy lake and tear the animal to shreds while it's still alive to experience its own disemboweling.
Paulsen stops his dog team to stare at the savagery of the massacre, gorily described in the rawness of bloody battle, the rending of flesh and entrails and vital organs with carnivorous teeth.
This isn't the fascinating game of hunter and hunted shown on television, crude violence carefully edited out of the footage. This is real wilderness eat-or-be-eaten, and Paulsen is sickened by it. But thinking back on what he witnessed and how he reacted, Paulsen sees that his revulsion for the wolves is the only element that didn't belong in the equation, him carrying his prejudices of modern human civilization into the natural world and expecting animals to follow the rules he unconsciously set for them.
Wolves are wolves, predators knowing only the drive to kill and eat, kill and eat however possible, with no concern for their prey or if their technique in bringing the creature down looks pretty. It was unfair of Paulsen to demand the wolves conform to his expectations, an uninvolved species peering in on the ancient art of the hunt and judging it.
Wolves don't know they are wolves. That's a name we have put on them, something we have done. I do not know how wolves think of themselves, nor does anybody, but I did know and still know that it was wrong to think they should be the way I wanted them to be. Its implications for the view humans take of one another is sobering, asking us to reconsider what we think of individuals who deviate from the code of conduct written by mainstream society, demanding they adhere to those values or be branded monsters who deserve to be put down for their crimes against decency.
But does the predatory human differ from the wolf chasing down deer and ripping them to bloody bits in the wild, caring only to satiate the natural craving within their own breasts? Is it fair to deem such a person worthless or wicked and condemn them to incarceration or death if all they're doing is being themselves, wolves who don't know they're wolves and couldn't do anything to change it even if they were aware? Gary Paulsen's anecdote is loaded with implications that deserve honest examination.
It could occupy the thoughtful reader's mind for a long time on a number of levels, and if you're reading Woodsong for the first time, get used to it: this quality of food for thought fills the book from start to finish. A sudden fear.
Woodsong by Gary Paulsen Summary
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Jul 05, Minutes Middle Grade Buy. Jul 05, Minutes Middle Grade The award-winning creator of popular survival stories turns his attention to his own real life adventures in Minnesota and Alaska as he prepares for the grueling Iditarod sled dog race. He won the Margaret A. Available from:. Audio —. Audiobook Download.